After revealing the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the humble childlike, Christ now encounters the opposite: The Rich Man. The Rich Man rushes up and kneels before Christ and asks, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Christ, knowing the Rich Man’s soul and sensing a lack of humility and lack of faith, reacts harshly, saying “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but God alone.” Ironically, God is standing right in front of the Rich Man but he cannot see.

Christ then coldly redirects the Rich Man towards the basics: keep the Commandments. To test him, Christ mentions parts of the 10 Commandments that focus only on neighbor (and not God). The arrogant young man falsely claims to have kept “all” these commandments (who keeps “all” the commandments?) but fails to mention God, confirming Christ’s insight about the man’s stunted spirituality. Merciful, Christ directs the Rich Man to give away all his possessions and to “follow Me (God)“, an invitation to give himself completely to God. Attached to his worldliness and possessions and lacking true desire for God, the Rich Man refuses Christ’s invitation and leaves in sadness.

Christ confirms the difficulty of entering Heaven and laments the loss of those with riches, saying, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” First amazed, then astonished and now panicked,  the disciples’ worry about their own fate and ask, “Who then can be saved?”  Christ gazes intently at the disciples with a hint of dismay, perhaps in frustration for their unbelief, and replies, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine Prophet, Christ has profound insight into the Rich Man’s heart, immediately seeing that he is failing to seek God. Divine Truth, Christ states hard uncompromising truths that make men uncomfortable.  Divine King, Christ abhors mediocrity and calls all His men to the perfection of sainthood; He deals bluntly with those needing correction. Divine Judge, Christ speaks with authority, disclosing the difficulty of the wealthy to enter Heaven. Divine Teacher, teaches with mysterious irony, blunt statements and memorable metaphors that still intrigue and draw men to Christ’s message.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Some men have profitably cultivated the skill to imperfectly “read people”, picking up their micro-facial expressions and reading body language. Be awed (reverence and fear) by Christ’s supernatural power to perfectly read outer indications and to perfectly read the most minute details of every man’s soul.

2) Men living in modern societies enjoy incredible wealth (like the Rich Man) compared to many billions in the developing world (real poverty) and compared to those Christ called rich. Reflect on the need for Poverty of the Heart (CCC 2544-2547) and pray for Christ to help you battle the desire for riches/comfort and to grow in charity for the poor.

3) The Rich Man’s false arrogant claim to have kept “all the commandments” is because he had a poorly formed moral conscience. Renew your understanding of the Catechism’ teaching on Moral Conscience (CCC 1776-1802), do a rigorous Examine of Conscience and get to Confession as soon as possible.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory

Virtue of the Day – Prudence

Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant